Symposium on Human Security
-- Realizing Human Security in Asia --
Summary and Evaluation
23 February, 2010
On 23rd February, 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Graduate Program on Human Security of the University of Tokyo co-organized "Symposium on Human Security -- Realizing Human Security in Asia --" on the Komaba Campus of the University of Tokyo. This symposium aimed to broadly discuss challenges toward further enhancing human security in Asia and future collaboration with regional organizations. Projects implemented through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security were introduced as examples of field efforts in Asia.
- In every session of the symposium, the needs and importance of enhancing human security in Asia were reconfirmed.
- The significance of assistance through UN agencies and Japan's presence in such multilateral assistance were demonstrated in the symposium by introducing the activities of four Japanese UN workers, who had been playing an active role in realizing human security.
- There were lively exchanges of views in Session Two, in which panelists introduced projects implemented through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. It was beneficial for further enhancing human security that the importance, significance and difficulty of realizing human security were clearly identified from the field-level perspective.
- To further promote human security in Japan, panelists shared the view that it was important to publicize the concept in ways that would facilitate the understanding of Japanese people by linking human security to things that are familiar to them. Panelists also shared the view that it was important to actively enhance collaboration among aid agencies, academia and journalism.
- It is important to enhance collaboration between Japan and ASEAN towards promoting and realizing the concept of human security by building on ASEAN's efforts introduced in this symposium.
3. Essence of Each Section
(1) Opening Remarks
Ms. Nishimura, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, introduced Japan's commitments towards enhancing human security and addressed that the Government of Japan would continue its efforts.
Dr. Tanaka, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo, noted that it was meaningful to hold this symposium at the university considering its goal to become a global campus.
Dr. Surin, Secretary General of ASEAN, pointed out that state security and human security were not mutually controversial.
(2) Session One
Mr. Misran, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General, made a keynote speech under the theme of "Toward the Realization of Human Security in Asia." He introduced ASEAN's efforts in the field of education, environment, health, disaster prevention and science and technology as part of ASEAN's efforts on human security.
In the following Q&A Session, there was a question on how Mr. Misran saw the current situation of human security in Myanmar. He replied that Myanmar was an important member of ASEAN and that ASEAN did not want Myanmar to be isolated. He emphasized that ASEAN would patiently continue its efforts to persuade Myanmar.
(3) Session Two
Japanese UN workers gave presentations as panelists under the theme of "Implementation of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security Projects in Asia."
Mr. Konuma, Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Regional Representative, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, introduced the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security Project "UN Joint Programme on Integrated Highland Livelihood Development in Mae Hong Son." He explained that, although coordination among several UN agencies was painstaking, the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security provided an opportunity to practice "Delivering as One."
Ms. Noda, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Mongolia, introduced the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security Project "Comprehensive Community Services to Improve Human Security for the Rural Disadvantaged Populations in Mongolia." Quoting "Human Security in International Organizations: Blessing or Scourge?" by Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh, former Professor at Sciences Po, she showed her apprehension that the concept of human security could be politicized.
Mr. Nakai, Head of Laukai Sub-office, WFP Myanmar, introduced the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security Project "Support to ex-poppy farmers and poor vulnerable families in border areas." He pointed out the importance of trying to let a community recognize the needs to stand on their own feet as human security would not be realized by aid agencies alone.
Ms. Nakayama, Technical Officer, ILO Subregional Office for South-East Asia and the Pacific, introduced the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security Projects "Economic and Social Empowerment of Returned Victims of Trafficking"(completed) and "Inter-Agency Programme to Nurture Peace, Security and Decent Work through Local Development in Conflict Areas of the Philippines (Bondoc Peninsula)"(starting from this March). She appreciated the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security for encouraging collaboration among several UN agencies, which was difficult but was certainly essential to achieve "One UN."
In the following Q&A Session, there was a question on how UN agencies managed when they faced any disagreement with a recipient government in executing a project. Mr. Konuma answered to that question by referring to his own experience in Mae Hong Son Project. At first, the local government of the targeted area was against to including migrants from Myanmar to the beneficiaries of the project. Mr. Konuma explained that, in order to increase the human security level of the Mae Hong Son as a whole, it was essential to extend a support to all people in Mae Hong Son regardless of borders or their nationalities. Around one year later, he finally succeeded in reaching an agreement with the local government.
(4) Session Three
Panelists who are engaged in human security issues in various capacities such as academia, journalism and government gave presentations under the theme of "Toward Realizing Human Security in ASEAN."
Mr. Anh, Professor and Director, International Cooperation Bureau, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, focused on the issue of human trafficking. He pointed out the significance of addressing the issue comprehensively at source, transit and destination countries and emphasized the necessity of commitments at a regional level. He indicated that 4 Ps (prevention, prosecution, protection and policy) were important in addressing human security threats in the Mekong Region as exemplified in the issue of human trafficking.
Mr. Akashi, Professor, the University of Tokyo, introduced his experience of engaging in peace building assistance in Timor-Leste. He pointed out that, although it was important to put local people and communities at the helm in peace building, there were difficulties such as the lack of ownership or an insufficiency of local capacity. In this regard, he concluded that human security met the needs of a country that was working toward a new start as a nation.
Ms. Prampan, Senior International Affairs Officer, Bureau of Policy and Strategy, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, introduced the progress toward the establishment of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security at Thai Government and Thai's commitment as a member of Human Security Network. She also introduced a new report on human security in Thailand, which was now in progress.
Ms. Doden, Senior Commentator, NHK, explained the significance of human security by introducing two broadcast reports on maternity record books, which helped to improve maternal health in Indonesia, and the donation of translated picture books to children in Cambodia. She pointed out the fact that there were only 59 reports on human security in Japan in one year and analyzed that there might be two major reasons for this. One was that human security might be too ambiguous to be used as a headline in a limited time frame or pages. The other was that media's structure was divided in sections, and thus, it was difficult to cover global issues comprehensively.
Mr. Katori, Ambassador for ASEAN, reaffirmed that human security was a pragmatic concept and pointed out that the introduction of the concept prompted to focus on local people in providing assistance. He also introduced human security approaches, such as a human-centered approach, taken by ASEAN by referring to ASEAN's documents.
(5) Session Four
Under the theme of "Japan-ASEAN Collaboration toward Realization of Human Security in Asia," Dr. Tsunekawa, Director, JICA Research Institute, first gave a presentation and then answered to questions from the floor together with Mr. Ueno, Director of Global Issues Cooperation Division, International Cooperation Bureau.
Dr. Tsunekawa introduced that JICA Research Institute was conducting a research under the theme of "ASEAN and Human Security: Challenges and Opportunities." He pointed out that the significance of human security was increasing in Asia from four perspectives: poverty, non-traditional security, post-conflict fragility and post-crisis fragility, and new social issues, which were too new for governments to accumulate know-how in policy-making.
At the following Q&A Session, there was a question and request that whether it was possible to establish a network between Human Security Consortium, which is a group of Japanese universities, including the Graduate Program on Human Security of the University of Tokyo, that are studying human security, and universities in the ASEAN Region that are also studying human security. Dr. Tsunekawa replied that it would be possible to collaborate with local researchers in the ASEAN Region in concrete issues that Japanese researchers alone cannot fully investigate, rather than in theoretical discussions on human security. Mr. Ueno replied that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan attached great importance to promoting collaboration between academia and the field highly and that the Ministry would welcome a concrete proposal on the promotion of the concept of human security in Japan and the realization of the concept in Asia.
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